Important progress is being made in international climate talks and at the national...
Up to 13 million tons of plastic are dumped into the world's oceans every year. © istock/MikaelEriksson
We use our oceans intensively and in many different ways: some researchers estimate...
In 2009, the UN General Assembly declared 22 April International Mother Earth Day.
Klaus Töpfer (c)IASS/Piero Chiussi/Agentur StandArt
600 participants from 80 countries met this week in Berlin at the third Global Soil Week.
The protection of soils and land is key to solving a range of today’s environmental...
A bulk cutter for deep-sea mining, developed by the Canadian company Nautilus Minerals. ©Nautilus Minerals
Since they were first discovered at the end of the nineteenth century, manganese nodules...
Potsdam Summer School (c)PIK/Christine Bounama
In recent decades, researchers have been paying more attention to people’s...
Jes Weigelt Appointed Chair of the European Soil Partnership ©FAO
Soils are the basis for our food, a habitat for countless organisms and a prerequisite...
Sea ice in the Arctic has been melting at an unprecedented rate for several years. (c) Karsten Häcker
The Arctic is particularly susceptible to radical change. This is because...
Global Soil Week 2013, (c) Piero Chiussi (Agentur StandArt)/IASS
In the United Nations International Year of Soils the IASS is hosting the third Global Soil Week from...
Brick kiln with a fixed chimney bull trench in Bhaktapur (c) Birgit Lode
For decades, the Himalaya Region has been particularly badly affected by climate...


Air Pollution and Climate Change

Air pollution and climate change are closely related. The main sources of CO2 emissions – the extraction and burning of fossil fuels – are not only key drivers of climate change, but also major sources of air pollutants. Furthermore, many air pollutants that are harmful to human health and ecosystems also contribute to climate change by affecting the amount of incoming sunlight that is reflected or absorbed by the atmosphere, with some pollutants warming and others cooling the Earth. These so-called short-lived climate-forcing pollutants (SLCPs) include methane, black carbon, ground-level ozone, and sulfate aerosols. They have significant impacts on the climate. Read More

Climate Engineering

While there is still hope that risks from climate change can be limited by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, there is also a perception that ‘time is running out’. This perception of a looming watershed has given rise to calls for research on intentional, large-scale interventions into the climate system, referred to as either ‘climate engineering’ or ‘geoengineering’. Both terms describe a diverse and largely hypothetical array of methods for manipulating the global climate in order to moderate or forestall some of the numerous impacts of climate change. Read More


In the coming decades, the development of renewable energy sources (RES) such as wind and solar will play a major role in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and making our energy system more sustainable. But the places where RES are available or would be most efficient are often located far away from the densely populated and industrial areas where the energy is needed: on the open sea in the case of wind and in sunnier climes in the case of solar. This means that the construction of new power lines needs to go hand in hand with RES development. In Germany for instance, expanding the electrical grid has become a crucial precondition for the success of the Energiewende. Read More


The History, Impact and Limits of Economic Expertise

A close examination of the history of the historical emergence of economic expertise
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A New Chapter for the High Seas?

Historic decision to negotiate an international legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity
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Critical Global Discussions

Climate Engineering Conference 2014: Conference Report
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The Role of Biomass in the Sustainable Development Goals

A reality check and governance implications
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Procedural Governance of Field Experiments in Solar Radiation Management

A reflection on the workshop "Understanding Process Mechanisms for the Governance of SRM Field Experiments"
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Electricity Market Design: Will Demand React to Variations in Power Supply?

In the electricity sector, generation has always been driven by demand. But the Energiewende could turn this paradigm on its head.

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Energy Transition in France: Following in Germany’s Footsteps?

Recently, the Eiffel Tower in Paris was equipped with two small vertical wind turbines, which, while they spawned many news articles, have a generation capacity that is rather symbolic.

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14.09.2015 to 23.09.2015

Facing Natural Hazards: Potsdam Summer School 2015

As the recent earthquakes in Nepal have reminded us, extreme weather events

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20.06.2015 to 21.06.2015

Workshop: Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity

The Convention for Cooperation in the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine...
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Better Save Soil

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Let's Talk About Soil - English

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Outlaws in Air City (Fast Forward Science 2014)

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Engineering the climate?

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